Rajasthan is well known for its forts, heritage property, lakes, rich culture and national park. Being a wildlife lover, visiting Ranthambore National park, was on my priority list. I traveled to Ranthambore in January, ideally, it is one of the best months to travel, when the weather is pleasant and visibility is good.
Travel: Delhi is well connected with Ranthambore, through road and rail. There are multiple ways to travel to the city, but I opted for the train. I boarded Janshatabdi from Nizamuddin station, the journey was around 5 hours and pretty comfortable. We landed at Sawai Madhopur station late evening, I should commend the Rajasthan government for the cleanliness and well maintenance of the station. Being a woman traveler, safety is high on my priority list. The station and the city are safe for women travelers. No one is going to unnecessary harass you.
I was staying at Om Rudrapriya Holiday Resort, it was at a twenty minutes distance from the station. Since I reached late night, so after a quick dinner, I decided to call it a day.
In the morning while sipping tea, Mr.Bhawar Singh, GM of the property joined me. He suggested that I should visit the Ranthambore Fort, he narrated an interesting history behind the fort. Incidentally, the fort was considered unconquerable, till it was sieged by Akbar. The fort is a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site, under the head of “Hill Forts of Rajasthan”. I decided to follow his advice and visited the fort. The fort is located 5 km inside the park and is perched high on a hill of about 700 ft. I would recommend wear flats or go for sports shoes while visiting the fort. The fort has 250 stairs, infested with the monkey, so don’t carry any eateries. Also, if someone is suffering from the knee problem, old people and kids, should avoid the climb. Else, go for pitthus, though the charges are bit high, the view at the top makes it worth. The fort first stone was laid in 944 AD by a Rajput King from Chauhan Dynasty, but major role in the construction was played by King Rao Hammir Deo Chauhan. On reaching the top, there is “Battis Khambha Chhatrri”, which was made in order to honor the king’s 32-year rule.
Famous Trinetra Ganesh temple is located, half a kilometer from Battis Khamba Chattri. This temple has Ganeshji statue with three eyes, along with his 2 wives Riddhi-Siddhi and two sons Shubh-Labh. While moving towards the temple, it was heartening to see people offering water, free of cost to the travelers. The temple close in the afternoon from 1:00 PM-2:00 PM. Anyone who plans to visit the fort should have two and a half to three hours in hand.
A trip to Ranthambore would have been incomplete without a visit to Ranthambore National Park. So, next day we went for the safari. The park is divided into 10 zones and chances of tiger sighting are very high in Zone 1 and 2. Apart from the tiger, one can also see herds of deer, leopard, hyena, wild boar, sambhar, cheetal, peacocks etc. The deciduous forest turns dry in summer and winter, the visibility is good and making spotting easier. So anyone planning to travel to that side should go in November to February or April to June.
While going on safari, everyone wants to see tiger but seeing him in real, is a different experience. Tiger blends so well with the vegetation, that at times it becomes difficult to locate him. Tiger sighting is heavily dependent on the naturalists, the zone you are visiting, time and luck. I was lucky to come across tiger during the safari. The moment I lay my eyes on him, I experienced a whirlpool of emotions. You suddenly feel humble and are in awe with nature, his regal walk, his piercing gaze (which made my heart skip a beat), humans vulnerability, all makes it an exciting cocktail. But it was a memorable experience, which I would cherish lifetime.
Stay- Ranthambore offers many interesting stay options, though I opted for Om Rudrapriya Holiday Resort, the resort is compact, well landscaped, with neat and clean rooms. The rooms are big and airy, with comfortable bathrooms. One can see Rajasthani architecture in play in the resort. They have a restaurant, which provides decent food. I especially liked the hospitality; the higher management will go to any extent to make you feel comfortable. The price of one-night stay is affordable. They also have a tourist shop within the premises, from where one can purchase souvenirs’. And if you are planning a trip with a kid, then this is a good place, as they have a big lawn, where a child can play a lot of outdoor games.
So, next time whenever you want to experience wildlife, heritage, hospitality, and history, plan your trip to mighty Ranthambore.